Sunday, July 16, 2017

desk purge

Jo really doesn’t do things by halves.

Just as she lopped off her hair, she decided to purge her desk.

It’s like she is going through some Marie Kondo phase, to de-clutter and rid her life of excess hair and junk.

I’ve been trying to get her to clean her desk and the area around it for months, maybe since last year. I start every holiday by asking the kids to wade through and weed out. Jo never does.

But suddenly, again to my great surprise, she took it upon herself one weekend to do so.


It wasn’t an effort of an hour or two or even several, it took the entire weekend.

And it was a complete clean purge, surgical and unsentimental in the extent to which she methodically cut off and discarded all the things piled on her desk and on the floor.

Bear in mind that up until the purge, she tended to be a hoarder. She had kept all her school notes, from the early Primary’s, on a “just-in-case” basis. This time she threw it all out, even the notes from just last year.

In an uncharacteristic move, she merrily trotted things out from her room, happily giving them away to Lu and Eva who was visiting. It was like an auction: "Who wants this?" and the two younger girls would jump up and down for it. There were things which had never been touched, little souvenir elephants I gave her, stationary which had been gifted to her for good performance, stale food which she never opened but kept from months back (OK these were thrown and not given away).

* Things she threw out but which I am keeping. The cute little white puff, the elephants I bought her, a Children's Day present from the piano teacher of Hello Kitty in bed
* EDIT: She read this, and said "I WANT the white puff! I gave it to you to clean!"

There were photos, Polaroids of her and her friends, little half-completed diaries. She took down all her class photos from her board. She even wanted to junk her Japan travel diary which contained loads of things she had written and postcards. “If I’d finished writing the whole thing I’d like it and keep it,” said Jo, who had only documented half the trip. “But I didn’t so I don’t want it.”

Then there were all the brand-new books, in which she had tried to start personal diaries. “This is such a nice book, but I don’t want such disgusting stuff inside.”

For the first time, I found myself imploring my child to keep, not throw or give away!

While I regularly throw things out, my weakness is sentiment. I asked if I could keep some of her stuff. And I think that as long as it’s not on her radar, she doesn’t care what I do with her “disgusting stuff”. Her lack of sentiment scares me, but I think it is truly admirable.

The good thing is, three years after we created the space for them, Jo is finally using the desk not as a storage platform, but as it was meant to be used: To study and do her homework.

In her clean, minimalist, de-cluttered space, she is at peace. And I think she is finally of age to be able to clear up every time she finishes, and keep the space clean.

* Nothing was "shifted" to be stored somewhere else. Everything was thrown out. I guess what's left are the things which, in the words of Ms Kondo, "spark joy" for her!

(Lu is still using hers as a storage platform)


Anonymous said...

Did Jo happen to read the Marie Kondo book? It's really impressive to do all these by her own initiative and I'm really curious what the trigger point is. Kids are fascinating.

Sher said...

No never. I don't really know what the trigger point was... but she's always been extreme.

Saroette said...


I hope it will happen to my 7 yr old 1 day too!

Lysithea said...

Wow, so neat and clean now! When my girl cleans her desk, she also takes a big bag and throws out everything! Then I intercept her bag and sift through it - some of the things which should not be thrown away or should be recycled .... :P

Sher said...

lysithea tts exactly wat i'm doing now! so MY room is in a mess!